W O R D S
Jackson Li, of Just An Everyday Life, performs "Illusions" (self-described as "a rap about moms and college") for his mother's birthday at EMW bookstore's monthly open mic.
That was me. Model Minority x Slacker. That kid in class, who cut, slept, or played Gameboy Advance every day and still managed to graduate without ever studying. To the streets, I was a nerd and goody-two shoes but to the school, I was a hooligan and a rebel. To America, I was too Chinese but to China, I was too American. These dualities were labeled onto me; I just walk with them.
But I bring that retro fresh. I’ll drop a 16 about Jordans on a Funky Drummer break loop. And while all that EDM and house music is hot right now, I’ll still kill a Kanye Soul Sample. It’s just what I do. No gimmicks, just spitting.
Model Minority. Slacker. Nerd. Hooligan. Rebel. Nah.
I’m just a MC."
She carried the two bowls back to the side where I was sitting. I looked at her, "They didn't want it?"
"They said the soup went bad." Before I knew what to say, she continued, "It's like that. It's because my father puts in chicken bones to cook it." She listed other ingredients I love in my soup. "Sometimes they love it and others think that it's rotten. There's nothing you can do about what they say they taste."
Her son was playing with Spanish flash cards on the floor. Throughout our conversation, she kept scolding that he was causing them to lose business because he was playing in the front. We both watched as Peruvians would stop at the entrance to look at the large menu with pictures, peek inside, and continue walking. She carried her daughter on her back and when she had fallen asleep, placed her to rest in the seat across from me, wrapped in a blanket. After a while, she became busy trying to get her husband to stop fixing the furniture at the front of her restaurant.
#diaspora #peru #chinatown #food
Bao Phi is a Vietnamese American spoken word artist, writer and community activist living in Minnesota. A two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, Bao Phi has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry, featured in the live performances and taping of the blockbuster diasporic Vietnamese variety show Paris By Night 114: Tôi Là Người Việt Nam, and a poem of his appeared in the 2006 Best American Poetry anthology. His poems and essays are widely published in numerous publications including Screaming Monkeys and Spoken Word Revolution Redux. He has also released several CDs of his poetry, such as the recently sold-out Refugeography to his newest CD, The Nguyens EP. A short story of his, Revolution Shuffle, appeared in the landmark anthology Octavia’s Brood: Stories from Social Justice Movements, AK Press, 2015.
Is like watching a bad romantic comedy
Except he is the protagonist
And you are the best friend
Who is faking a clap as he kisses the girl
The girl you just met a week ago
The one he's barely talked about
In any of his conversations
And you think
About those late nights
The sky a sparkling blanket
And the city an empty bedroom
And he begins to strip down his walls
#queer #love #heartbreak
like durian, pull apart my milky flesh
with your hands
as the stench fills the room.
Not all fruit is sweet
and easy to consume. I am exotic
but not in the way you’d like me to be.
I want to leave you dirty
with the memory of me
unable to wash my scent
off your skin.
#love #america #foreignness
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#education #institution #college #china #childhood #memory
Daughter, of my sea glass
diaspora: You are already
Chinese. One of million
pieces of porcelain washing
upon distant shores. Your skin –
forged in the kiln with all the
yellow & brown mud
your ancestors saved
that the white man
has not yet burned.
#migration #motherland #diaspora #love